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Full text of "Verdict On India"

,14rO                                        VERDICT  O^T  INDIA
We can best appreciate what Ayurveda is by stating, as concisely
as possible, what it is not. The things it does not attempt to do
are even more significant than the things it does. Here are some
of its more glaring omissions.
1.    It disdains the microscope and ignores the whole field of
bacceriology ; its diagnosis is there for mere guess-work.
2.   It rejects surgery, and gives the cancer patient a pill.
3.    It knows nothing of injections, either intravenous or intra-
muscular; the syphilitic is compelled to swallow crude
arsenic, to the delight of the spirochete but the dismay of
his liver.
4.    It has no disinfectants adequate to deal with any but the
simplest cases of sepsis ; to prevent the spread of cholera it
hangs a bunch of flowers over the doorway.
5.    Anaesthetics, needless to say, are quite unknown to it, and
when it requires an analgesic it relies on crude opium.
0. It deliberately rejects countless remedies that have un-
questionably proved their worth in, Western medicine, and it
rejects them in favour of methods that can only be described
as wishful thinking. Rather than use British sulphonamide
preparations for pneumonia, or a Canadian product like
insulin for diabetes, the Ayurvedie doctor's 'therapy5 allows
his patient to die on his hands.
One could write pages about the glaring deficiencies of Ayur-
veda ; for the average man, these few sentences should be
However, in fairness to Ayurveda, let us admit that just as
witch-doctors in Western Africa have discovered herbs which are
effective for local fevers, so the Ayurvedie physicians have evolved*
through the centuries, certain simple remedies for common
It would hardly have been possible for them to have failed to
do so. They can relieve constipation, they can temporarily abate
the fever of malaria, they have several good tonics, an excellent
«jold cure, and a secret remedy for dysentery which is often very
effective. In, two cases they have actually anticipated Western